There are a lot of good reasons to own a dog. They are loving companions who are always fun to have around. But have you ever stopped to think about all the ways they are helping you?
The truth is, the benefits of having a dog extend far beyond the obvious amusement they provide and we’re going to do a run down of them right now.
After reading this, you might just want to thank your dog just for being such a good friend (who is also good for you).
They Literally Make You Happier
It has been found that spending only a short time with a dog can significantly improve our mood. People playing with dogs have a marked increase in dopamine and serotonin, chemicals in the brain which positively impact our happiness levels.
In fact, studies on dog owners have found that these groups are less likely to suffer from depression.
They Make Your Heart Healthier
No, we don’t mean they fill us with love and warm our hearts (though they do that as well). They actually make our cardiovascular system stronger.
Studies have shown that dog ownership is directly correlated with lower blood pressure. In fact, it has been found that petting a dog for no more than 15 minutes will ease a person’s heart rate.
They Improve Your Immune System
Yes, dogs expose us to a lot of germs and bacteria. Is that a bad thing? Not if you don’t like getting sick.
The truth is, our immune system needs to be exposed to germs to develop an immunity against them, and dogs are just the thing to serve up such fodder. The result is that dog owners get sick less and are able to fight off infection much more effectively.
Relating to the previous point, exposure to dogs also has the function of keeping us from developing allergies. A recent study indicated that growing up with dogs gave people a much greater chance of not developing pet allergies.
Another study indicated that growing up with dogs reduced the risk of developing eczema as well.
They Can Warn You of Danger
It is well known that dogs can warn you if a fire breaks out or if a someone breaks into your home, but they can also warn you about dangers to your health as well.
Dogs have been observed spotting and reacting to things like seizures or cancerous tumors long before the afflicted person is aware of it. A dog may point something like this out by pawing at you for an irregular amount of time. In some cases, they have saved lives this way.
They Get You Exercising
We probably don’t have to tell you all of the benefits of exercising. The outcomes are improvements in both our physical and mental health.
So you should never underestimate the good being done for you, whenever your dog demands to be taken for a walk or outside to play. While your dog may seem much more excited about the activity, it is both of you who are benefiting greatly.
Don’t believe us? At least one study has proven that dog owners, on average, get better exercise than those who don’t.
They Improve Your Social Life
When you get a dog, you get an opportunity to join a huge community of dog lovers. You get to hang out with them at dog parks, go for walks with them, and generally bond over the dog loving experience.
In a sense, the companionship you get when you have a dog is exponential when you factor in the social connections you make with dog enthusiasts.
In fact, there are even dating sites, just for people with pets.
They Improve Your Personality
Having a dog requires patience, compassion, conscientiousness and responsibility. If you were lacking in some of these traits before having a dog, you might find that you picked some of them up while you were caring for it.
They Provide Warmth
Do you have bad blood circulation or live in a generally drafty house? No problem if you have a dog! Just cuddle up with your pooch and your cold extremities will be a thing of the past. They are like a big walking heat pad.
You’re not likely to find a dog who doesn’t like a good cuddle so if you have a dog, there is no reason to be cold.
They Help Cope with Stress
Dogs are proven to be amazing at stress avoidance. One study found that people who were able to pet a friendly or familiar dog, showed a dramatic reduction in stress indicators. This reduction took hold even faster than the effects of many medications which are meant to directly combat stress.